Quarterly Report: 2013, October - December (Q2), Saint George

Saint George 
Jedediah Smith  
DCRA Regional Office:
Gov't Type:
Second Class City 
Agreement Date:
City of St. George 
Assessment Status:
Assessment Date:
Exp Date:
Last Updated:
Community Sanitation Overview:
The piped water and wastewater system was constructed by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) during the 1950s. Four wells provide water for the community and the harbor with 250,000 gallons of water storage. Sixty residences are connected to the system and are plumbed. The city provides refuse collection services. St. George signed a RUBA agreement in January 2012. 
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
Saint George staff have been non-responsive to requests for documentation to support findings on the RUBA management assessment. Capacity indicators without current supporting documentation are marked no. On December 12, 2012 Anchorage RUBA was contacted by the mayor from Saint George to inquire about municipal elections. The mayor has stated that the city did not hold their municipal election as prescribed by the city ordinance and required by state statute. City staff was unable to establish which council seat was up for election and the terms were not clearly defined. As a result the notice for the declaration of candidacy was not posted. The mayor wanted clarification if the current council is still the governing body of the city. RUBA staff provided AS 29.20.15(a), that states: A member of the governing body is elected for a three-year term and until a successor qualifies, unless a different term not exceeding four years is prescribed by home rule charter or ordinance. RUBA staff will provide assistance to the city to request an expedited preclearance from the US Department of Justice, Voting Rights Section for an election in February. The city council is also the utility board and responsible for all actions concerning the water/wastewater utility.  
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
New RUBA staff assigned to community will maintain contact with community and provide assistance when requested.
Essential Indicators:
8 of 27
Sustainable Indicators:
11 of 27
Total Score:
19 of 54


Essential Indicators
Answer Question
No All revenues and expenses for the utility are listed in the utility budget.
No The utility has adopted a balanced realistic budget.
No Monthly financial reports are prepared and submitted to the policy making board.
No The utility is current in paying all water/wastewater electric bills.
No The utility has on hand a year's adequate fuel supply or it has a financial plan to purchase an adequate supply.
No The utility is receiving revenues (user fees or other sources) sufficient to cover operating expenses.
Sustainable Indicators
Answer Question
No The utility is receiving revenues (user fees or other sources sufficient to cover operating expenses and Repair & Replacement (R) costs.
No YTD revenues are at a level equal to or above those budgeted.
No YTD expenditures are at a level equal to or below those budgeted.
No A monthly manager's report is prepared.
No Budget amendments are completed and adopted as necessary.
Finances Comments
Requested financial documentation has not been received since September 2011. The city's operating budget is not balanced. Decisions to balance the budget require open discussion and debate, empowering the city council and the community with ongoing, scheduled city council meetings and work-groups. The city council has not been receiving regular updated financial reports.

Accounting Systems

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
No The utility has adopted a collection policy and actively follows it.
No The utility bills customers on a regular basis.
No An accounts receivable system is in place which tracks customers and reports past due accounts and amounts.
No An accounts payable system is in place.
No The payroll system correctly calculates payroll and keeps records.
No A cash receipt system is in place that records incoming money and how it was spent.
No The utility has a cash disbursement system that records how money was spent.
Sustainable Indicators
Answer Question
No A chart of accounts is used that identifies categories in a reasonable, usable manner.
No Monthly bank reconciliations have been completed for all utility accounts.
No The utility has a purchasing system that requires approval prior to purchase, and the approval process compares proposed purchases to budgeted amounts.
Accounting Systems Comments
As this quarter's financial statements have not been recieved from the new accounting firm, RUBA cannot attest to the community's accounting systems. Until RUBA has direct contact with the current accountant, it is unknown what financial systems are in place and how they are functioning. The payroll, accounts payable, accounts receiveable, and cash receipt systems were in place during the September 2011 assessment. The city council adopted a utility ordinance that includes a collections policy on September 24, 2008. The city uses a pay-as-you-go system for water, electricity, and waste costs for residential customers, thus eliminating collections issues for residential customers. However, Saint George has a collections policy in place for commercial customers which has not been consistently enforced; some commercial customers are in arrears. Utility rates have not been adequately raised to compensate for increased fuel costs. This issue needs to go before the city council, and devoting a portion of each council meeting to utility issues (structural, financial, and visionary) is an essential practice. Much of the grant funding requested by or expected by Saint George is related to utility projects. The water distribution infrastructure needs attention; sections of the waste distribution system are aging and failing. Alternative energy projects (windmills) are also planned by the community with grant monies in place. The Alaska Energy Authority (AEA) intends switching capacity and generator integration with the windmills and the city is poised to complete substantial infrastructure improvements.

Tax Problems

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
No The utility has a system to accurately calculate, track, and report payroll tax liabilities.
No The utility is current on filing tax reports.
No The utility is current on making tax deposits.
No If there are any past due tax liabilities or recorded tax liens, a lien release has been issued or a repayment agreement has been signed and repayments are current.
Tax Problems Comments
A signed Authorization to Request Federal Tax Information was sent to the IRS on January 4, 2013. There are no recorded liens for the City of St. George. St. George currently has Federal tax liabilities and will need to include a repayment schedule into any budget calculations for the upcoming year. Tax clearance from the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development was received on December 14, 2012. As with other aspects of St. George city management, tax liability should be openly reported in regular city council meetings.

Personnel System

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
Yes The utility has a posted workers compensation insurance policy in effect.
Sustainable Indicators
Answer Question
Yes The utility has adopted and uses a Personnel Policy, which has been reviewed by an attorney, AML or Commerce for topics and language.
Yes The utility has adequate written job descriptions for all positions.
No The utility has adopted and follows a written personnel evaluation process that ties the job description to the evaluation.
No The utility has an adequate written hiring process.
No The utility has personnel folders on every employee that contain at least: I-9, Job Application and Letter of Acceptance.
Yes The utility has a probationary period for new hires that includes orientation, job training/oversight, and evaluations.
Yes The utility provides training opportunities to staff as needed and available.
Personnel System Comments
The City of St. George has workers compensation with Alaska Municipal League Joint Insurance Association(AMLJIA) through July 2013, and is currently up to date with their payments. There is not an active practice of regular employee evaluation and feedback. During the on-site assessment, RUBA staff encouraged the development of once yearly formal employee evaluation, to include both written and verbal feedback. As the result of a small labor pool and geographic isolation, many city and utility positions on Saint George are held by employees without job-specific training or experience. Saint George offers encouragement and financial support for continued training of employees.

Organizational Management

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
Yes The entity that owns the utility is known; the entity that will operate the utility is set.
No The policy making body is active in policy making of the utility.
No The policy making body enforces utility policy.
Yes The utility has an adequately trained manager.
Yes The utility has an adequately trained bookkeeper.
Yes The utility has an adequately trained operator or operators.
Yes The utility has adopted the necessary ordinances (or rules and regulations) necessary to give it the authority to operate.
Sustainable Indicators
Answer Question
Yes The utility has adopted an organizational chart that reflects the current structure.
No The policy making body meets as required.
Yes The utility complies with the open meeting act for all meetings.
Organizational Management Comments
A utility ordinance was adopted by the city council on September 24, 2008. The city council does not meet monthly as required by the city's code of ordinances and State Statutes Title 29. This lack of regular city council meetings is a core issue for Saint George. This creates a situation in which critical issues that impact the community are not reaching the council for discussion and shared decision making. The Saint George city council is currently not adequately involved in the budgetary or financial affairs of the city.

Operation of Utility

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
Yes The utility operator(s) are actively working towards necessary certification.
Yes The utility has a preventative maintenance plan developed for the existing sanitation facilities.
Sustainable Indicators
Answer Question
Yes The manager receives a monthly O&M report from the utility operator and routinely "spot checks" the facilities to see that the maintenance items are being completed.
No The utility has a safety manual and holds safety meetings.
No Utility facilities have not suffered any major problems/outages due to management issues that are unresolved.
No The utility is operating at the level of service that was proposed.
Yes The operator provides status reports to the manager on a routine basis.
Yes The utility has completed and distributed its "Consumer Confidence Report".
No The utility is not on the "Significant Non-Complier" (SNC) list.
Yes The utility maintains an inventory control list.
Yes The utility maintains a critical spare parts list.
Operation of Utility Comments
The new water operator attended training last quarter and received his Water Distribution - Provisional certification, expiring 12/31/2014. The utility does not have a safety manual nor do they hold safety meetings. A preventative maintenance plan was adopted by the Saint George City Council on June 19, 2009. Saint George is listed on the October 2012 SNC list for system failure to sample for LCR. System submitted a SOC waiver and is currently listed as 'pending'. An underlying cause of the non-compliance issues related to an Arctic pipe freezing and breaking March 2012, emptying the storage tank and causing pressure loss. The system remains on Boil Water Notice during repairs/replacement of broken lines. The water utility operator completed a Consumer Confidence Report, working with the Remote Maintenance Worker. During RUBA staff's June 2012 on-site visit, he completed an inventory and critical spare parts list.